Sandra Bland case highlights race relations in US

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Experts say people's immediate reactions to the Sandra Bland video may all have to do with our own personal life experiences (KTRK)

There's a lot more to the Sandra Bland traffic stop than what meets the eye.

While one person may see this as a clear cut arrest, another may see it in an entirely different light.

The Eyewitness News team has seen that in our own conversations about this case. And we've seen it in the comments section of our coverage and on social media. So we went to the streets of Houston to get reactions to the video.

We got very mixed reactions from Houstonians who have seen the dash cam video from Sandra Bland's traffic stop. Those reactions were largely along racial lines.

"He should have pulled her over for whatever reason it was, and after that, he should have just ticketed her and left -- no matter what she said," said Pam Johnson.

"The laws are gonna mess with you. You gotta comply," says Mike Martinez. "If you don't comply, then out of order. You gotta do what the laws ask. If you don't, they gotta do their job."

"My first thought was to be fair, the officer gave you an order," said Gerardine McKeon.

But after watching the dash cam video more, McKeon says Sandra Bland should still be alive. And she looks at police differently.

"These are the people we're to go to if we have problems and issues. But for me, it's like I can't go to them. I don't feel safe," McKeon said.

Join the club, says Tnaka Ford: "I come from Tennessee, and I feel intimidated a lot when they pull me over. I'm a black woman, he's a white guy. And they're going to believe him over me anyway."

Some experts say experiences mean everything in terms of how some may view the video, and how some may interact with police.

"I'm a white person, and I was raised the policeman was my friend and you were respectful and he was your friend, and nothing was going to happen," says Richard Shaw.

Shaw is a Life Member of the NAACP, and serves Executive Committee of the Houston branch. He says any non-black person who sees this and still doesn't see the concerns many black people have about police as legit should open their eyes.

"White people have privileges in this society because it's majority white, and everybody in charge is white. So it's hard for some white people to understand what it's like to be non-white and what it's like not to have some automatic privileges. So yes we need to talk about this," Shaw said.

One other interesting note from our time compiling this story is that every black person we spoke with not only knew Bland's name right off hand, but had an opinion about the video. We stopped at least two dozen non-black people and only a few of them knew about this story, and even fewer had followed it enough to form any kind of opinion. The opinions they shared with me were that Trooper Brian Encinia should have done things differently.
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societyrace relationsHouston
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